Syria: Crimes Against Humanity in Homs

The Telegraph (UK) has put the word “genocide” in its headline as a description of what has been going on in Syria.

On Wednesday morning, more persons were killed in Homs, as the Syrian military invaded strongly Sunni neighborhoods and drove toward the city center. Tanks and artillery barrages have been used against civilian crowds. The BBC suggests that some 32 adults were killed Wednesday morning, along with 18 premature babies in hospital who died with the electricity was cut.

Aljazeera English reports:

The Gulf Cooperation Council group of Arab oil monarchies expelled their Syrian ambassadors and called their own envoys home on Tuesday, out of disgust at the ongoing massacre.

The use of tanks and artillery against non-combatant, civilian populations in rebel districts is a war crime. Systematic deployment of war crimes in turn become crimes against humanity.

The Statute of Rome establishing the International Criminal Court defined crimes against humanity as follows:

“Article 7: Crimes against humanity

1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(a) Murder;

(b) Extermination;

(c) Enslavement;

(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

(f) Torture;

(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;

(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

(i) Enforced disappearance of persons;

(j) The crime of apartheid;

(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.”

If the regime has in fact been targeting Sunni neighborhoods in Homs that had engaged in peaceful demonstrations, that would be a crime against humanity right there. The evidence is that Homs residential neighborhoods are being intensively bombarded.

Because of the Russian and Chinese veto at the UN Security Council, there is no authorization for the use of force by international actors. In the absence of such authorization, the US has been reduced to trying to target individual regime figures for financial sanctions and for prosecution if they ever leave Syria.

64 Responses

  1. Prof. Cole,

    All of my extended family is in Homs and I can tell you for a fact that 9 out of the 11 acts listed under Article 7 are currently being committed in Homs and all across Syria. What do we have to do get help there? I understand it is a complex area of the world and what happens there will have a large effect on the region, but how can we allow this to happen? It’s 2012, not 1982. Please, we can’t take this anymore.

    link to youtube.com

    • Omar, a lot of the civilian casualties recently have been carried out by the rebel forces or the so called “Free Syrian Army”. They have raised havoc in the region and they should not be supported- which is what the UNSC sought to do- support violence against violence is NO RESOLUTION as far as humanity is concerned.

      • Yes they killed their own children and blamed it on the regime. And syrian Artist broke his own Hands as a smear campaign against the Assad Regime. And the Massacre in Hama was a Hoax too.

        Shame on you.

  2. israel tops the list of crimes against humanity, yet the world stays silent, Assad is coming a close second, what is going on?

    • Let’s not let overblown propaganda get the better of us here.

      Something short of 800 people were killed by the Israels in the Gaza War.

      About 1200 Lebanese were killed in the 2006 border war. Those are both terrible things.

      According to the UN, as many as 7000 people have been killed by the Syrian regime during the uprising.

    • IT is OK to start with the second and then go to the first. This line of defense that others are worse is not acceptable.

    • You would have a hard time producing evidence that “Israel tops the list of crimes against humanity,” given Syria, Rwanda, Bosnia (Srebrenica) Libya under Ghaddafi, and a host of others, current and past. Nevertheless, if for the sake of argument one were to assume your statement correct, it would still be a non-sequitur. One does not clean one’s own dirty laundry by pointing out the dirt in others’ laundry.

      • Yeah, but there’s nothing to keep one from pointing out the dirt in others’ laundry while acknowledging the need to wash one’s own pile, and going on down to the rocks at the river’s edge with the rest of the village to pound the collective dirt out of the community’s clothing.

        What a strange notion, that one is constrained to be silent, indeed excused or even barred from any obligation to exclaim, let alone take any kind of palliative or corrective action, about the horrors done by others, on the charmingly excusable notion that one has oneself committed horrors. Of which there is manifest and voluminous evidence.

        Would it not make eminent sense to make the effort to reduce the net volume of horrors in the world?

        • Thank you for reinforcing my point, Mr. McPhee. Whatever Israel may have done is no excuse for ignoring Syria because of the (mistaken) notion that Israel may have done worse. As you correctly point out: “Would it not make eminent sense to make the effort to reduce the net volume of horrors in the world?”

  3. Yes, Virginia, the Syrian government tortures its people.

    Has your head been buried for the past four decades?

  4. Further on the correct usage of words

    gen·o·cide
       
    noun
    the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

    re·press

    2. To put down by force, usually before total control has been lost; quell: repress a rebellion.

    Sovereign governments have the right to supress rebellions stoked by deserters and mutineers. French cries of dismay must of course take into account the methodology of General Bigeard. link to telegraph.co.uk

    Pompey, Crassus and Abraham Lincoln would understand.

    Attempts at or aspirations of secession from the United States have been a feature of the country’s politics since its birth. Some have argued for a constitutional right of secession and others for a natural right of revolution. The United States Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession unconstitutional while commenting that revolution or consent of the states could lead to a successful secession.

    The one serious secession movement was defeated in the American Civil War. In 1860-1861, eleven of the fifteen southern states where slavery was legal declared their secession from the United States and joined together as the Confederate States of America. It collapsed in 1865 after losing the war with the northern states.

    • Even further on the correct use of words:

      Secession. The act of seceding; separation from fellowship or association with others, as in a religious or political organization

      The protesters who were attacked by the Syrian regime, and then took up arms in response, were not part of a secession movement.

  5. The Telegraph (UK) has put the word “genocide” in its headline as a description of what has been going on in Syria.
    When will the Telegraph (UK) or any newspaper in the US and its poodles print the same headline as applied to Israel wrt the occupied territories.

    Article 7 can be applied as well to Israel and its Palestinian population in the occupied territories.

    • oh wait a minute. So you argue like. If israel has the right to kill Palestinians. Than the Assad Regime have the right too.

      Shame on you

  6. Quick question: while we all know the uprising here in Syria is as domestic as Lybia’s: how do we not know they haven’t been co-opted for the greater interests? Such as Iran perhaps? Hezbollah must be using the time to stock up, since Iran, or should we say Israel will be starting quite the shooting match soon.

    Unfortunately Syria probably will not see Democracy any time soon, I hope I am wrong!!

    David Trimmell

    • They sure have been co-opted. By Iran to an extent, but more so by the Saudis and other Sunni states in the region who have continued to gush weapons into the country, arming everyone and anyone they can to fight Assad’s regime. The “Free Syria Army” is largely made up of defected military men and mobs of young Syrians boys.

      • The “Free Syria Army” is largely made up of defected military men and mobs of young Syrians boys.

        People who defected from Assad’s military sound pretty ok to me.

        The youth of Syria sound pretty ok to me.

        Was I supposed to like the “Free Syria Army” less?

        • The Misratan kids sounded ok to me too. But I didn’t know they were going to be torturing the Tawerghans. The Syrian Sunnis have grudges that pre-date 1982. When they come to power, there will be plenty of revenge killings and etnic cleansing.

        • Yes, Robert, bad things happen in wars. We should always keep in mind that, no matter how just one side is, or how noble its adherents, bad things are going to happen in a war.

          But that’s quite a bit different from claiming that we should oppose one side on the grounds that some of its adherents defected from a tyrant’s army, and some of them are young.

  7. Yesterday I listened to NPR’s On Point. The guest was an former ambassador to Israel and another so-called expert. Both men agreed that some terrible form of ethnic cleansing or retributions would take place once the power shifted away from Assad.

    Our track record of making things right in the middle east is not stellar. Syria should be no different.

    You almost have to laugh when a middle age white Presbyterian woman (Hillary Clinton) attempts to tell a complex muslim/Christian society led by a vicious dictator how to best solve their conflicts.

    • That’s really not the point here, is it? I respectfully suggest you get over whatever problems you apparently have with a “middle age white Presbyterian woman” – who, IMHO, has been a good Sec. of State – and deal with the bloody reality on the ground. Unless you’re suggesting we should leave it to Assad’s regime to sort things out. Get a grip.

  8. One assumes China gets a lot of its oil from Arab states, so I don’t see why there isn’t great leverage on them to change this vote.

  9. I am confused. Why is this worse than what Saddam Hussein did to his people? He killed far more than Assad has, and he targetted particular groups such as the Shi’ites and the Kurds. Yet we hear from many liberal-progressive groups that it was wrong to remove him from power (one excuse I heard was that at the time of Bush’s invasion, he didn’t happend to be doing any crimes against humanity, as if this washed out his earlier atrocities.
    Same with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia…the liberal-progressives in the US Congress passed special legislation probiting the US to do anything to stop the horrors that occurred there.
    So I go back to my original question….how come the world, including the liberal-progressives find Assad so especially abhorrent, when he is actually in the minor league of recent (post World War II) butchers? Is it because, being a an Alawite allied with Shi’ite Iran the mainline Sunni Arabs don’t like him and they have the power to mobilized public opinion in the West by way of their plentiful petrodollars?

    • Yet we hear from many liberal-progressive groups that it was wrong to remove him from power

      It’s 2012, and you still don’t understand the difference between a local movement removing its own dictator and a foreign nation invading and taking over that country?

      Seriously?

      I’m sure you’ve had this explained to you several thousand times already, but you’re still feigning confusion, so it’s probably not worth my while to go through it again.

      • Joe from Lowell,

        “i_like_ike52″ makes a lot of sense. Iraq was in civil war 1980-2008. In 2003, there were over a hundred thousand soldiers in the Iraqi resistance fighting Saddam. [Peshmerga + ISCI/SCIRI/Badr + Dawa + Allawi + Communist Party of Iraq + Chalabi/Sadrists/INC] The Iraqi resistance has substantially more popularity and Iraqi legitimacy than Saddam. Saddam continued his atrocities against the Iraqi people in 2002 and 2003. Saddam felt he had to, or the Iraqi people would remove him.

        Saddam was far worse than Assad.

        Between 2004-2008 [the Iraqi civil and regional war ended in 2008], Iraqi was governed by a legitimate popular sovereign government. One that was unanimously endorsed as legitimate by the UN and international community. The 650,000 Iraqi Security Forces were substantially more popular and legitimate than the sectarian militias they were fighting. Yet many Americans and Europeans hated the Iraqi Government and the 650,000 Iraqi Security Forces fighting for that government.

        Joe from Lowell, you want to know why the hypocrisy? Because in Syria the world’s more than 1 billion Sunnis are united behind the Free Syrian Army. More than united, but emotionally committed. By contrast, in Iraq 2003-2007; many non Iraqi Sunnis saw Iraqi Shiites and Iraqi Kurds as untermensch. Unfortunately, only 18% or so of Iraqis were Sunni Arabs, or “real Arabs.” There are You tube videos of Saddam’s brother chemical Ali talking about killing 20 million lesser or fake Iraqis for the sake of the 5 million Iraqis that were part of the true Iraqi nation. I think we all know what the Saddam family meant by that.

        • Anan,

          While there was an Iraqi resistance prior to the war, they certainly didn’t invite us in. I remember reading about how the Shiite militias approached coalition forces before the fighting began and offered to field combat units to help fight the Iraqi military – and I remember them being told that they would be treated as hostile forces if they came anywhere near the battlefield. The existence of an Iraqi resistance doesn’t make Operation Iraqi Freedom an exercise in supporting an indigenous liberation movement. This, btw, is why I was supportive of the mission in Libya – because it was welcomed by the opposition – but am deeply hesitant to see foreign intervention in Syria, at least at this time. The Syrian opposition certainly aren’t going to be waving French and American flags!

          Saddam was far worse than Assad.

          I agree, he was. Just look at the Iran-Iraq War, by itself. Please understand, the arguments against the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the notion that Saddam didn’t deserve it.

          Yet many Americans and Europeans hated the Iraqi Government and the 650,000 Iraqi Security Forces fighting for that government.

          To be fair, they hated the “resistance” just as much, if not more. I think you’re way off if you’re reading sympathy for the Baathists or jihadists into American anti-war sentiment.

          Joe from Lowell, you want to know why the hypocrisy? Because in Syria the world’s more than 1 billion Sunnis are united behind the Free Syrian Army. More than united, but emotionally committed.

          I think, sir, that you have a profound misunderstanding of the role that the sentiment of the world’s 1 billion Sunnis plays in the thought process of your average red-blooded American.

        • Anan,

          If I understand correctly, you’re noting that the United States didn’t support an indigenous resistance in Iraq (except the Kurds, btw), while we did support one in Libya.

          I suggest that a more likely explanation than some supposed American favoritism towards Sunni Muslims over other Muslims would be, Barack Obama and George W. Bush are two very different Presidents. Obama has adopted a stance towards popular uprisings in the MENA region that is at least notably distinct from past American practice.

      • Joe, I thought the discussion is about the need for outside intervention in which a government is involved in mass-killing of civilians, in which the civilians are targetted. So what if there wasn’t an “organized armed internal opposition” as you claim was the case in Iraq? More civilians were killed by Saddam than by Assad. Far more, and certain enthnic and religious groups were specifically targetted by Saddam’s regime which supposedly falls under the category of “genocide”.
        I am more and more convinced we are seeing hypocrisy at work in seeing supposed differences betweeen Syria and the “unpopular” causes of Cambodia in the 1970′s and Iraq in the 21th century.

        • One just has to love the clumping sound of combat boots dancing on the head of a pin.

          Pol Pot = Saddam Hussein? Well, clumsy, massive, grotesquely wasteful, murderous US Experienced Player activities had a lot to do with the advent and persistence of both, as I recall. Can’t go after Pol Pot because the “gooks” who kicked US out of French Indochina were opposed to his regime and the Khmer Rouge were killing NVA, something like that, right? And Our Troops We Support, and the honest Iraqi yeomen and women who got blowed up wholesale by weapons provided for “good geopolitical reasons” by the US to one Saddam Hussein when he was our FRIEND against the Evil Iranians…

          Something seriously wrong at the black heart of all this.

        • First of all, you are misrepresenting history regarding Cambodia. It was the Cold Warriors who ran interference for the Khmer Rouge, siding with the Chinese ally in a conflict with Vietnam. But forget all of that – you’re comparing a Cold War flash point to a situation in 2012, and wondering why the United States didn’t start a war with the Chinese client state, in the immediate aftermath of Vietnam? Compared to the intervention in Libya? And the only explanation you can come up with is hypocrisy? Incredible.

          But beyond that, see my answer to Anan, above. It very much matters whether there is a credible, indigenous opposition to work with and back up, or not. For one thing, it matters in making the case that foreign intervention is legitimate. For another, it’s rather important to the shape of the post-war situation, both in terms of the commitment required, and for the chances of success of the post-war state.

          The badness of the dictator isn’t the only issue that determines whether a foreign military intervention – which always has a high bar to clear – is a good idea.

        • I knew the Vietnam War would be thrown back at me. I recall that when the atrocities were occurring in Cambodia (“Kampuchea”) the whole world knew about it. I also recall that William F Buckley suggested an international army of volunteers (‘mercenaries’, if you prefer) go in there and try to stop it. The US would have had the ability to give air support, but, as I said, Congress, the ‘liberals-progressives’ like Senator Frank Church, prohibited it.

          After World War II, the cry was “Never Again”….never again would the world sit back while civilian, non-combatant populations would be targetted. Yet here I am hearing “never again, if…..”, “never again, but….” or “never again, when….” (I am paraphrasing JFK on another matter here).
          Does the world have a moral obligation to intervene, even to the point of “regime change” to prevent this kind of thing, OR NOT?

        • Evil, maybe “timid” “Liberals-progressives?” Whether there’s a moral imperative to aid regime change, OR NOT?

          I know it’s just Wiki, and the article on the Khmer Rouge is pretty poorly written syntactically and grammatically, but there are a few bits that bear remembering:

          The US sided with the Khmer Rouge in efforts to overthrow the Vietnamese and the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea; it [was?] part of the anti-Vietnamese and anti-Soviet attitudes that prevailed, especially in the midst of the Sino-Soviet Split, since the People’s Republic of China also supported the Khmer Rouge. The United States aided Khmer Rouge guerrillas who fled to Thailand after the Vietnamese invaded Cambodian territory and ousted the Khmer Rouge from power. The U.S. sided with China in supporting the Khmer Rouge in order to destabilize the Hun Sen Government in Cambodia and its Vietnamese allies.

          And of course “our” dedication to “air power” (renascent as the fixation on Drone Wars) gives us this snippet:

          [F]rom October 4, 1965, to August 15, 1973, the United States dropped far more ordnance on Cambodia than was previously believed: 2,756,941 tons’ worth, dropped in 230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites. Just over 10 percent of this bombing was indiscriminate, with 3,580 of the sites listed as having “unknown” targets and another 8,238 sites having no target listed at all. . . . [T]he total payload dropped during these years to be nearly five times greater than the generally accepted figure. To put the revised total of 2,756,941 tons into perspective, the Allies dropped just over 2 million tons of bombs during all of World War II, including the bombs that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 15,000 and 20,000 tons, respectively. Cambodia may well be the most heavily bombed country in history. . . . [T]he bombing forced the Vietnamese Communists deeper and deeper into Cambodia, bringing them into greater contact with Khmer Rouge insurgents . . . [and] drove ordinary Cambodians into the arms of the Khmer Rouge, a group that seemed initially to have slim prospects of revolutionary success.

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          All part of the running of the Great Game, by those Really Astute Experienced Players.

          What’s the alignment of the spiritual axis of all those Imperial Idiocies, again? And where does it point, except to instability and conflict and kleptocracy?

        • The US would have had the ability to give air support, but, as I said, Congress, the ‘liberals-progressives’ like Senator Frank Church, prohibited it.

          Except that’s bull. You are inventing, as if you are a fiction writer attempting to make a buck, an alternate history in which the United States government and the conservatives therein made even the slightest effort to do something about their anti-Vietnamese de fact allies, the Khmer Rouge. The same Khmer rouge that they supplied during the Vietnam War in order to destabilize the Cambodian prince’s government. The same Khmer Rouge that they – the American Cold War conservatives – ran interference for at the UN.

          You are telling yourself a pretty little bedtime story that bears about as much relation to reality as a fairy tale.

          Does the world have a moral obligation to intervene, even to the point of “regime change” to prevent this kind of thing, OR NOT?

          Intervention for such a purpose is justified, but any such action has to meet the requirements of just war theory, which includes both legitimate authority (this, btw, is why you are on the right track discussing “the world,” and why you were on the wrong track equating a UN-mandated action in Libya with a UN-opposed action in Iraq) and a good likelihood of success. No one is ever required to throw lives away on something that will probably make the situation worse, no matter what their intentions.

          I actually come down much more favorably towards R2P interventions than most people here, but the R2P doctrine is quite a bit more complicated than asserting that the world has a duty to start war whenever it spots a bad guy.

  10. Juan, the problem is that there is no evidence that they are targeting civilians. Al Jazeera itself is not that objective as it has proven to have ties with the CIA and have been the mouthpiece for foreign intervention.

    link to rt.com

    Notice that one thing you haven’t seen is peaceful demonstrations or peaceful demonstrators being shot at.
    What you have there is opposition militia groups armed and trained by the CIA (the CIA does that for decades in just about every country that opposes US hegemony) in order to destabilize syria and isolate Iran. Yes, civilians do die when they get caught in the cross fire but there is absolutely no evidence that Assad gave an order to shoot unarmed civilians. Also, 2000 Syrian security forces have died already, just to show you these are not “peaceful demonstrators” but rather well armed and trained militias.

    I do think that Assad for his own good should step down and allow for free elections but this is now a full fledged civil war, just like it was in Libya, so it is unlikely to happen. Also, our good old MSM – propagandists as they are as usual – forgot to mention yesterday that the streets of Damascus yesterday were filled with people greeting and cheering the Russian foreign minister Lavrov when he came to visit – a show of support against foreign intervention.
    It’s all one big propaganda ploy, a part of the US/Israel to impose their Middle East order by destabilizing and toppling regimes that oppose the Imperial design. It’s been an enormous success so far on the propaganda level as I see many well intentioned people were fooled, including in the Arab world.

    If you still don’t believe this assertion, ask yourself: “how come there are no calls for intervention in Yemen? In Bahrain? In Saudi Arabia? Why do we hardly hear about any atrocities over there? How come there was complete silence when Saudi Arabia sent forces to crush demonstrations in Bahrain? Is that a coincidence that the two countries where you have these civil wars are the ones who oppose US hegemony – Libya and Syria?”. The answer is that these countries were targeted long time ago by the US for “regime change” by arming and supporting opposition groups. They just used the Arab spring as an opportunity to trigger this plan.

    • “Al Jazeera itself is not that objective”

      As opposed RT?

      ““how come there are no calls for intervention in Yemen? In Bahrain? In Saudi Arabia? Why do we hardly hear about any atrocities over there? How come there was complete silence when Saudi Arabia sent forces to crush demonstrations in Bahrain?”

      It should be pretty obvious, the level of violence in the countries mentioned wasnt at the same level of libyas or even syrias, thats why.

      Also violent actions that have taken place in those countries have been reported, but bahrains death toll is in the dozens, syrias is in the thousands, it makes sense that syria would be in the news more.

    • Ron, you link us to RT, a Russian propaganda machine?

      But if you wish to take them at face value you should check their top page article today. Apparently they do not share your belief that there is no serious opposition or that peaceful protesters were not being mown down.

      link to inotv.rt.com

    • You claim that al Jazeera is a “mouthpiece,” and then you link to Russia Today?

      You accuse other people of falling for propaganda, and then cite a rally in the capital organized by the regime and evidence of public opinion?

      COME ON, MAN! You’re not even trying!

      how come there are no calls for intervention in Yemen? In Bahrain? In Saudi Arabia? Why do we hardly hear about any atrocities over there? How come there was complete silence when Saudi Arabia sent forces to crush demonstrations in Bahrain?

      Because a couple dozen people were killed in Bahrain, while more than 100 times that number have been killed in Syria.

      Is that a coincidence that the two countries where you have these civil wars are the ones who oppose US hegemony – Libya and Syria?

      Libya, in 2011, was opposing US hegemony? Really? I think you could stand to have your knowledge of the region’s politics updated. There was some news about Libya during the Bush administration that’s worth looking into.

  11. In another five years, this will be small potatoes.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    China seems to be be suffering cognitive dissonance, advancing state sovereignty as a cover for their own abuses but which conflicts with their desire to achieve economic alliance among bad actors.

    The region’s other bad actors do not support Syrian genocide, nor do they support a nuclear arms race. It is a shame Iran’s nuclear program has its defenders in the West.

    • I’m not too worried about your link that Saudi Arabia will get nuclear weapons in response to Iran.

      The people of Saudi Arabia consider Israel more of an adversary, yet the government of Saudi Arabia has not responded for decades to Israel amassing hundreds of nuclear weapons.

      The only possible explanation is that Saudi Arabia is not an independent state, but executes the foreign policy imposed on it by the United States, in which case the United States, regardless of Iran’s nuclear program, can and will exercise the option of not allowing Saudi Arabia to develop even legal nuclear weapons capabilities like those Brazil has.

      In short, if Saudi Arabia is not independent enough to respond to Israel’s nuclear arsenal, it is not independent enough to respond to Iran achieving legal nuclear weapons capabilities like those Brazil has.

      • The people of Saudi Arabia consider Israel more of an adversary

        And you’re basing this on…what? Your decades of experience there? Or are you just projecting your own opinions onto a few million people you’ve never met?

        The only possible explanation is that Saudi Arabia is not an independent state, but executes the foreign policy imposed on it by the United States

        I pulled up a chart of crude oil prices and Saudi production when I read this statement, and laughed until a little pee came out. Yeah, those Saudis, they sure do take marching order from the US.

        • Arab populations are polled fairly regularly on this and similar questions.

          Saudi Arabia recognizes Iran, has an embassy there and its king has met and held hands with Iran’s president. That caused no scandal or problem at all for the Saudi monarchy.

          Which is one reason why, for all your fluster, you’re not able to assert that I’m wrong to say the people of Saudi Arabia consider Israel more of an adversary than Iran.

          And yet no Saudi response to Israel’s hundreds of nuclear weapons. You’re not able to attempt an alternative explanation of that either.

          Then oil prices. Saudi Arabia is close to its production capacity already. You have not shown any evidence that Saudi Arabia could lower prices and does not.

          But either way, the United States, as a significant oil producer, benefits from high oil prices relative to its primary economic competitors in Europe and Asia.

    • We’re not defending Iran’s hypothetical nuclear program, we’re condemning the hypocrisy of people like yourself who deny that Israel has hundreds of nukes (the South African govt. has produced documents showing Israel tried to sell some to the apartheid regime) so that you can justify more wars for “defenseless” Israel.

  12. The Telegraph (UK) has put the word “genocide” in its headline as a description of what has been going on in Syria.

    Like when you said Freedom House called Tunisia and Kuwait “partly free”, saying the Telegraph described Syria as “genocide” without further comment in your own voice borders on deceptive.

    Do you consider the Syrian situation genocide or not? If you do, then you should explain on what basis. If you do not, you should not put this there without a rebuttal in your own voice.

    If the regime has in fact been targeting Sunni neighborhoods in Homs that had engaged in peaceful demonstrations, that would be a crime against humanity right there. The evidence is that Homs residential neighborhoods are being intensively bombarded.

    There is no reasonable question that there is armed resistance to the government in Homs. There is also no reasonable question that the armed resistance to the government has foreign support from countries hostile to Syria.

    Barack Obama would not tolerate armed resistance to the US Federal Government in Miami any more than Abraham Lincoln would tolerate armed resistance to the government in South Carolina.

    First, Miami could never become “liberated territory”, as Homs has been at times, peacefully. Liberated territory means that the internal security has been driven out. By force.

    Neither Cairo nor Alexandria became liberated territory in the protests against Mubarak. None of the peaceful US Occupy movements ever established even a city block of liberated territory.

    Second, if Miami was to become liberated territory, necessarily violently, then Obama would recapture the city using overwhelming force, including tanks.

    • Cairo and Alexandria are not liberated territory because the transition has not been completed yet. Once the Tantawi regime is swept aside, and presuming free and fair elections for parliament and the presidency, they will then be liberated.

      Why do you say “necessarily violently”? Do you really think that liberation can ONLY be achieved by violence?

      And by that logic, wouldn’t it be then justified to support the armed groups opposing the Baath regime with force? You say violence is necessary, so then to bring down the Assad dictatorship we can’t rely on peaceful protestors; we have to back violent groups like the Free Syrian Army to achieve liberation?

      • Whew.

        By “liberated territory” I mean territory outside of the control of the central government.

        At no point will Cairo be that. Homs was liberated territory as defined here in 2011, the Syrian security forces had been forced out.

        Did you seriously not know what “liberated territory” means in this context?

        • 2011 was last year, and I didn’t notice Juan Cole repeatedly using that context for that phrase regularly. Has he been using that context recently?

          Do you feel that the central government destroying a rival regime by force is always the correct response to such a regime’s appearance? Regardless of the legitimacy and the behavior of either the central government or the rival? For example, was the Sakaashvili government’s attempt to overrun the South Ossetia regime justified, and the Russian government’s prevention of this attempt unjust then?

        • Is it that you’re not comfortable with English?

          When I wrote:

          First, Miami could never become “liberated territory”, as Homs has been at times, peacefully. Liberated territory means that the internal security has been driven out. By force.

          I gave my own definition for how I was using the term “liberated territory”. It is not a unique usage, but a common one. But either way, that’s how I’ve been using the term when you responded.

          I don’t understand exactly what you’re arguing about.

  13. What is taking place in Syria is a tragedy. But listening to Secretary of State Clinton calling it a “tragedy” is absurd. Clinton is almost as guilty as those in the Bush administration who knowingly created, cherry picked and then dessiminated false intelligence about Iraq. And why is it that images of the horrific images of what is going on in Syria are making their way onto MSM outlets far more than the horrific images of what was going on Iraq as a direct consequence of the US’s unnecessary and immoral invasion of that country. Why is it that Americans now know the numbers of dead killed by the Assad regime but do not know the numbers of dead, injured and displaced in Iraq since the invasion? Why is it that MSNBC’s Morning Joe team member Willie Geist expresses horror about the women and children being killed in Syria but we have never heard one of those MSM members on that show express horror or even cover the numbers dead in Iraq. Sickening the double standards are just sickening and complicit in the crimes that have been committed in Iraq

  14. So some of us may be confused by all the Player-talk:

    Is what is going on in Syria (and Gaza and the West Bank and Arabia and sub-Saharan Africa all A-OK, then, on the ground of something like “it’s none of our bidness,” or that “it’s worse elsewhere,” or maybe that “to keep the Great Game going, you have to break a few eggs and heads and maintain Sovereignty as a primum bonum?” Or some other set of complications that Ordinary People just are not competent to understand or have an opinion about? Such that the fear and pain and dying of others who are as Ordinary as we are do not “count,” in the the Great Scheme of Things That Are Profitable and Convenient For the Kleptocracies Just The Way They Are? Because “suppressing” Ordinary People, even ones deprived of voice and opportunity, is just what governments are supposed to do?

    I mean, winning arguments about definitions of terms, while the “killing of large numbers of people, some of whom are exercising their G_d-given, inalienable Second Amendment-style Right to Armed Resistance” is happily going on, abetted by arms merchants and geopolitical jerkmeatery by Jackals and Clones and suchlike, is after all the most important thing — way ahead of concentrated efforts to come up with a set of values and actions that might, if not end (given what humans currently are) but might at least reduce, the carnage and the sowing of the dragons’ teeth of revenge and anomie and de-stability– do I have that right?

  15. I don’t think the situation in Syria has been objectively described? How much of the opposition is popular protests and how much is armed groups such as the Free Syrian Army? I don’t feel I know the true extent and the commonality between these two groups; western media certainly meshes the two together. So when we look at military action, we don’t know how the situation has developped? How much was the military action a response to an armed group’s attack? WAS the action a response to begin with? In the former case, was the casualty rate among civilians reasonable or excessive? Everything I’ve read about Syria is heavily biased on one side. Mainstream Western Media paints a picture of the Syrian military mowing down peaceful protestors, and automatically assumes the FSA and other armed groups have the support of the protestors. On the other hand, Assad apologists paint every military action as a response to an FSA, and they justify the actions completely, no matter what the cost of civilian life. There’s no clarity on the situation in Syria, just bias.

    • From reports out of Syria the last 12 months, it seems that the protests began as non-violent, Assad repressed them, they kept going beyond Assad’s expectations, more repression, and then some of the Syrian military began to defect and defend the rallies with armw. This raises the issue of what ‘non-violence’ is. All of the Arab Awakenings had violence of one sort or another. That’s what ‘revolution’ (or radical reform movement like we’ve seen the last year) bring: reaction (violence) from defenders of the status quo. In a situation like Syria, protester violence begins as defense against the regime’s onslaught. How could anyone equate that with violence by the regime itself? There is a lot of controversy about the ‘right or duty to protect’ as justification for outside intervention. But certainly the right to defend yourself and fellow citizens from massacre is the more immediate moral imperative.

  16. Starting to look like Iran is playing the West by deflecting focus on Syria with this WMD mumbo jumbo.

    • All the “leaders” and Experienced Players are “playing” everyone else, all the time, because their mothers and kindergarten teachers did not adequately wash their fripping mouths out with soap when they first started with the lying and dissimulation. And teach the unsocialized little beasts not to beat up on their fellows, and to recognize right from wrong, and to at least apologize when they got caught pinching the girls, and pinching all the cookies, and stealing from the milk money jar.

      And are you “playing,” too?

      Where’s that bar of Dial when we need it??

  17. The opposition, too, in Syria are committing CAH against civilians. This is Libya redux. Now, in Libya, the former opposition in charge is committing the very acts against civilians that got NATO to bomb the hell out of the country to get them in power. One group of thugs was exchanged for another. I have no doubt the same would happen in Syria. Although, it would be thugs compliant with U.S. interests, as in Libya.

    • This is Libya redux.

      Indeed; smarmy internet comments are throwing out rather appalling claims of equivalence between the dictator and the opposition, just as they did during the Libya War.

  18. Wow, I’m reading all this bickering and realizing why the American left is beyond useless. We don’t agree on definitions, we don’t agree on facts, and we don’t even admit our narrow agendas to each other, which mostly consist of backing one particular murderous tyrant in the hope that he, whether “Westernizing” Zionist, “Socialist” Arab, or “just plain ornery” Iranian will somehow turn the tide of evil that rules the world.

    No wonder those Occupy kids won’t say what their platform is. They’ve seen us all make fools of ourselves.

  19. If you do not understand how Syrian Alawites, like Israeli Jews, can be driven by self-preservation to commit crimes against humanity, then you just do not understand the Middle East.

  20. Libya Struggles to Curb Militias as Chaos Grows

    The Arab world’s most sweeping revolution is foundering as the interim government seems paralyzed by a lack of power to control militias.

    link to nytimes.com

    what was it that your buddy donald rumsfeld said once – democracy is messy – yeah that’s right.

    got anything to add you american government propaganda stooge ???

    got Libyan Oil in your vehicle ???

Comments are closed.